skip to content
Speed Skating

PyeongChang 2018 Events

Speed skating began as a rapid form of transportation across frozen lakes and rivers. It made its debut on the Olympic programme at the 1924 Winter Games.

Early pioneers
The Dutch were arguably the earliest pioneers of skating. They began using canals to maintain communication by skating from village to village as far back as the 13th century. Skating eventually spread across the channel to England, and soon the first clubs and artificial rinks began to form. Passionate skaters included several kings of England, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon III and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Early competition
The first known skating competition is thought to have been held in the Netherlands in 1676. However, the first official speed skating events were not held until 1863 in Oslo, Norway. In 1889, the Netherlands hosted the first World Championships, bringing together Dutch, Russian, American and English teams.

Olympic history

Speed skating appeared for the first time in 1924 at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. Initially, only men were allowed to participate. It was only at the Lake Placid Games in 1932 that women were authorised to compete in speed skating, which was then only a demonstration sport. It was not until the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley that women’s speed skating was officially included in the Olympic programme.

The events almost always follow the European system, which consists of skaters competing two-by-two. At the 1932 Olympic Games, the Americans organised American-style events, i.e. with a mass start. This decision brought about a boycott by many European competitors, which allowed the Americans to win the four gold medals. This system would give birth to short-track speed skating, which was added to the Olympic programme in Albertville in 1992.




Speed Skating - Men's 1500m - Brodka Wins Gold

Highlights of the Men's Speed Skating 1500m event from the Adler Arena as Zbigniew Brodka wins the gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Medal Winners:
Gold: Zbigniew Brodka (POL)
Silver: Koen Verweij (NED)
Bronze: Denny Morrison (CAN)


Shani Davis - 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games

Shani Davis at the 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
play SS W 3000m Gold/237 SS W 3000m Gold_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

At age 19, Ireen Wust Becomes an Olympic Champion

At age 19, Ireen Wust makes her Olympic debut and becomes the youngest Dutch Olympic champion in the history of Winter Olympics. Wust finishes in just 4:02.43, triumphing over compatriot and mentor Renate Groenewold and world record holder Cindy Klassen. Ireen Wust also captured a bronze medal in the 1500m event. Speed Skating Women's 3000m Final - Turin 2006 Winter Olympics - Ireen Wust (NED), Renate Groenewold (NED), Cindy Klassen (CAN)

“A kid in a candy store” - Bonnie Blair shares the experience of her first Olympic Games

Speed skater Bonnie Blair, one of the most successful American Olympic athletes of all time, recalls fondly her first Games in Sarajevo in 1984 in this new episode of our video series "Word of Olympians."


HEIDEN Eric - United States of America

Speed skating/men/500m, Speed skating/men/1000m, Short Track Speed Skating/men/1500m, Speed skating/men/5000m, Speed skating/men/10000m - United States of America 1980 (Winter)

DEMACHI Yoshiaki - Sweden

Speed skating/men/10000m - Switzerland 1948 (Winter)

back to top Fr